This project, Therapy Four Paws, is to provide the children with special educational needs, the possibility of having the animal assisted therapy, in schools, during the school year 2016-2017, at no extra cost.
The project Therapy Four Paws (T4P) aims to combine assisted intervention by animals (IAA) to children with special educational needs (SEN) of the 1st CEB. The T4P project takes place in three phases: a study phase, implementation phase, phase of universalization.
In the first phase, already held in the school year 2015/2016 was intended to carry out a case study with three children with special needs enrolled in Eugénio Grouping Castro, Coimbra, in order to assess some application of the impacts of this complementary therapy. With significant success, the team plans to advance to the second implementation phase, extending assisted intervention with animals more students and other schools of the 1st CEB in the municipality of Coimbra. In a final stage, the universal order will extend this project to other groups (adolescents and elderly).
As goals we intend to improve the quality of life of children with SEN, a lower burden of informal caregivers of children with SEN and the development or improvement socioemocioniais, communicative, behavioral and cognitive skills. Children can benefit greatly from this type of therapy, at a time when every year the number of children with this diagnosis increases. SEN are increasingly incapacitating and cause increasingly dysfunctionality in the lives of children in the short, medium and long term. It has been proven scientifically that a child interacts with animals creates more easily feelings of empathy and compassion for others, have better strategies to deal with stress and a better self. Thus, the animal-assisted therapy is very important for these children.